Babasaheb Purandare is a historian, writer and a theatre personality. He has given the tag of Shivshahir as he is best known for his works related to the life of Shivaji Maharaj.
Early Life & Background
Babasaheb Purandare was born as Balwant Purandare on 29 July 1922 in Pune. He started working at the Bharat Itihas Sanshodhan Mandal (Indian History Research Society). He has also participated in the post-independence Dadra-Nagar-Haveli freedom struggle, along with Sudhir Phadke.
Purandare was closely associated with Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh from his teens. During that time, he use to write articles in Acharya Atre’s newspaper. He has also worked for the fortnightly magazine ‘Manus’ with his brother-in-law G.Majgaonkar. However, while working at the Bharat Itihas Sanshodhan Mandal, he met historian G.H. Khare. Purandare worked under him and began his career in research in history. Later, he came in contact with senior historian & novelist G.N. Dandekar. Along with G.N. Dandekar, Purandare visited every single fort & house of sardar to gather information on Shivaji Raje’s life.
At the young age, Purandare had written stories related to Shivaji’s reign. When he grew up, those stories were compiled and a book named ‘Thingya’ was published. Later, he also published books like ‘Shelarkhind’, ‘Purandaryanchi Daulat’, ‘Purandaryanchi Naubat’ and ‘Kesari’. He also wrote a book on the life of Narayanrao Peshwa. His book ‘Raja Shiv Chatrapati’ was also popular among the Marathi masses. The book covers the detail of Shivaji’s life, before the birth of Shivaji Raje till his death. This publication has almost sixteen editions and has reached over five lakh households till date.
Apart from being a writer, Babasaheb Purandare had also contributed in theatres. In 1985, he organized a play named ‘Jaanata Raja’, which was based on the life of Shivaji Maharaj. The play was most popular and was staged over 864 times in 16 districts of Maharashtra. The play was originally written in Marathi but was also translated in five languages including Hindi & English. The show was staged in Agra, Delhi, Bhopal, Andhra Pradesh, Goa and even in the aboard in the United States. The drama has its own specialty as it has been performed by over 200 artists along with elephants, camels and horses. The performance of ‘Jaanata Raja’ takes place every year during Diwali festival. Purandare was honored with the Kalidas Sanman in 2007 and Maharashtra Bhushan. He has also written and directed the Marathi play ‘Fulvanti’.
Balwant Purandare was given a name of Shivshahir Babasaheb Purandare as most of his works were related to the life of Shivaji Maharaj. He successfully managed to propagate the persona of Shivaji Maharaj and had showcase the unfold character, traits and persona of Shivaji Raje through his writings and plays. Along with the study of Shivaji’s life, he has also studied the history of Peshwas of Pune, Bhosale’s of Satara & Kolhapur, Sarsenapti Dabhade’s, Ghorpade’s, Mohite’s, Jadhavrao’s, Nimbalkar’s of Phaltan & Nipani. He had also studied about the forts in Maharashtra. Even today, at the ripe age of 86, he continue to work with the same enthusiasm and passion.
Balwant Purandare has a daughter named Madhuri Purandare, who is writer, painter and a singer. She has written a book on ‘Pablo Picasso’. He also has two sons, Amrut Purandare and Prasad Purandare, who works in Marathi film industry and has also done few Hindi movies.